By Sharon Stello
In South Florida, the scenery at restaurants rivals the dishes, giving visitors further incentive to make a dinner reservation. Miami is filled with options for savoring gourmet cuisine and a glass of fine wine in the open air; and luckily, the year-round temperate weather pulls people outside for alfresco dining no matter the season. From intimate courtyards to oceanfront decks dotted with umbrella-covered tables, there’s a setting to match any mood.
On a warm evening, groups of friends and families may opt to gather on a restaurant’s landscaped patio to pair their meal with strands of lights twinkling in the trees overhead. At another eatery, couples take a seat on the terrace to enjoy a gentle sea breeze with panoramic views of the ocean and glittering skyline.
Taking a cue from the surroundings, many waterfront establishments serve a Mediterranean menu with fresh fish, pasta and paella, calling to mind seaside towns in Italy, France or Greece. In the artsy Wynwood neighborhood, cafes put a creative spin on their fare; some add a gallery or present DJs and live music on the patio. Inventive cocktails are often part of the experience, encouraging diners to stay and relax long after the last bite.
With these inviting spaces and a climate that’s ideal for eating outdoors—whether for brunch, lunch or dinner—you may never want to go back inside.
Recommended by Melany Ramsay, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
“[At] Casa Tua … you can enjoy the beautiful string of lanterns, the elegant wooden furniture, the white tablecloths, the supreme service and the excellent dishes. This is a perfect location as it is in the heart of South Beach, but on James Avenue where you don’t have all the loud action.” (1700 James Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-1010; casatualifestyle.com)
A yacht-inspired terrace at Loews Miami Beach Hotel matches the focus on seafood. Dishes also pair well with cocktails like Sergeant at Arms, made with tequila, passion fruit, honey, chili-coffee tincture and a mescal rinse. (1601 Collins Ave.; 305-695-4550; lurefishbar.com)
In the courtyard at Soho Beach House, Cecconi’s brings Northern Italian fare to Miami Beach. The charming garden setting is perfect to relax with a signature cocktail. (4385 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-507-7902; cecconisrestaurant.com)
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
Recommended by Maya Frenkiel, concierge supervisor at Acqualina Resort & Spa
Tucked in a backyard-like setting, the terrace at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill is lined with lush green vines and trees. Drawing on international influences, the menu offers a robata grill as well as small plates and sushi rolls that are meant to be shared. (3252 N.E. First Ave.; 786-369-0353; sugarcanerawbargrill.com)
Recommended by Fernando Pochulu, chef concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Miami
For patio dining with a creative edge, R House brings together impressive dishes, an art gallery and music venue. “R House is located in the … Wynwood district, known for its art offering in a raw/marginal scenario. It is the perfect spot for those looking for local DJs, cool graffiti and a straight-to-the-point drink menu.” (2727 N.W. Second Ave.; 305-576-0201; rhousewynwood.com)
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
Visitors may come for the patio’s view of the Wynwood Walls murals, but they stay for menu items like ropa vieja empanadas and braised short ribs, plus beer and wine from around the globe. (2550 N.W. Second Ave.; 305-722-8959; wynwoodkitchenandbar.com)
Corsair by Scott Conant
A seasonal menu based on American and Mediterranean farmhouse cooking is showcased at this restaurant at Turnberry Isle Miami, with an outdoor terrace alongside the lush golf course. (19999 W. Country Club Dr., Aventura; 786-279-6800; corsairmiami.com)